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Forget about all that talk about reining in costs and living within your means in a pricey housing market.

According to a TD Canada Trust survey released this week, most of B.C.'s repeat buyers see large or luxurious as the way to go.

They're also moving more than other Canadians, more than even the survey's authors expected.

"My personal experience as a mortgage specialist is that most of my clients are moving to fit a growing family or downsizing as empty nesters," TD Canada's manager, residential services, Barry Rathburn said in an interview about the company's Repeat Home Buyers Report.

"A growing family is more concerned with the features of a home and they're not willing to compromise."

According to the report, 56 per cent of repeat buyers in B.C. are moving to larger or more luxurious homes, with 25 per cent saying they're moving because they've outgrown their old home, 10 per cent saying they've always wanted a bigger home and can now afford it, and 21 per cent saying their next home will be smaller but have more luxurious features.

As well, 51 per cent of B.C. repeat buyers are moving earlier than they thought they would, while 22 per cent who had no plans to move are nevertheless back on the house-hunt.

The report concluded that B.C. residents love to move often, with 39 per cent having owned more than four homes compared to 29 per cent nationally. Twenty-two per cent have owned five or more homes throughout their lives, compared to 15 per cent nationally. Rathburn noted that most repeat buyers have equity in their previous homes, making the move to a larger or more luxurious home a lot more affordable.

"To me it's not a surprise," added Rathburn, who is also a mortgage specialist in Nanaimo. "Generally speaking, everybody sets out on a househunting trip with dreams of grandeur tempered by affordability, mortgage approval and down payment requirements. The key is using your equity to upgrade."

The report said B.C. buyers are also the most likely in Canada to say investment opportunities (26 per cent versus 21 per cent nationally) and market conditions (28 per cent versus 21 per cent nationally) played a factor in their decision to buy another home.

Rathburn said that while their research indicates British Columbians aren't staying in one home as long as other Canadians, it's something worth reconsidering because of the costs associated with a move. "It might be more affordable to renovate."

Results for the survey were collected in an online survey, with a total of 1,025 completed surveys, including 131 in B.C., June 16-28 from people who have either purchased a home that was not their first home within the past two years, or plan to purchase a home that's not their first home within the next two years.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

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